I like to text. I finally added unlimited texting to my plans because of high usage. Some communication is perfect for texting. Yes/No questions, a quick check in, a request or a “thinking about you” all seem appropriate to me.
There is some communication that is not served well by text.
In depth conversations and solving problems are not generally conducive to text messaging. I have found in my personal and professional life that many people seem to have complicated conversations over text and then are surprised when there are misunderstandings. I’m not even talking about teens and early adults who are probably much more adapt at text communication than folks a bit older. I’m talking about adults in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. I’ve seen entire relationships which seem to dissolve over rapidly exchanged texts.
If communication is something like 90% non-verbal then why would I think that you are going to get the nuances I am conveying via text? I’m talking not just gestures and facial expressions but tone and variations of our voice. How many times have I heard someone ask “what do you think they meant by that text?” Well I just don’t know. They put LOL but it seems kind of mean. There are so very many ways a text can be misinterpreted.
People seem braver with texting. If you are texting something you would never say to the person face to face – reconsider texting it. There is a reason you wouldn’t be willing to look into someone else’s eyes and the say the same thing.
Texting the tough stuff allows you to distance yourself from the uncomfortable emotions. To get to the other side – to process a situation – you might have to feel the yucky emotions. A text may not get across the emotions you are trying to share. It is difficult to validate another person in text and continue a conversation. We’ve all gotten the texts that are so long they go on for 4 or 5 texts. Your phone keeps pinging as you try to keep up with the message. Then if you happen to add autocorrect to the mix who knows what you are saying. Autocorrect once changed the word I was typing “iffy” to “orgy” which was not what I was trying to say. There is no wonder on why texts can be misunderstood.
There are just so many variables with text and in some ways it is allowing yourself to have an excuse not to step up, deal with emotion and connect. Being open and vulnerable is hard – but can be so very worth it.
Next time you are tempted to text – ask yourself if it is really the right way to be communicating this issue. If not – try talking face to face (if it is technology you are looking for talk via skype.) You may be surprised how well it works!